Merde sainte. It doesn't sound quite as tight as 'holy shit'. Yet Courbet N°5 surprised right out of the carton once I'd mounted the plinths with four hex bolts each. That trick slightly larger dome tweeter and its cleverly decompressed quasi dipole midrange companion conspired to provide our new Bakoon AMP-13R with conduits of exceptionally high resolution and transparency. The combination of 0.5Mhz direct-coupled amp with true variable gain plus Davis speaker worked out maximal lucid-mode detail within a densely populated very wide soundstage.

Soundaware D100Pro as SD card transport ⇒ Black Cat Cable S/PDIF BNC ⇒ Jay's Audio DAC2-SE ⇒  Zu Event RCA ⇒ Bakoon AMP-13R ⇒  Zu Event MkII ⇒ Courbet N°5.

Here we see the breathing bore for the kevlar cone. That just had to be complicit in that quick, unrestrained, very open-throated thus non-boxy delivery of all vocals.

The polar opposite to the progressively more and more opaque restraint of a Zu Druid V in the upper midrange and lower treble, this small French tower was ultra informative but not bright in those bands. Yet by the same token and as delivered—I still had to learn how much time this loaner pair had on it if any—the upper bass and lower registers also played polar Zu opposite by feeling lightweight and not fully worked out. The initial impression thus was of much esprit and délicatesse but not equivalent raw gumption for bump 'n' grind. For my trigger points, this spoke more to the head than hara.

A compound 8.5" woofer inside limited cubic volume obviously won't move 18-inch dipole air. Still, the solitary 5.25" Accuton mid/woofer in our Albedo Audio Aptica loaded into a transmission line far eclipsed N°5 on low-down reach. Did this initial reluctance stem from a low odometer reading—hifi's version of new-car smell—or an innate personality profile? Olivier Visan who by now was airborne for the US would have to weigh in when he landed.

Inspecting what had landed already, the lower back side of each speaker was adorned by a shiny dress plate with the model's basic specs just above the black terminal plate. Nice single-wire posts were shrouded in carbon-fiber barrels.

Here are closer looks at the driver artillery. Note the very attractive concealment of all fasteners. The included full-length black grills continue that theme. They mount via embedded magnets not unsightly posts and rubber grommets. I recently reviewed a twice-priced UK competitor. That thought nothing of using that mid 20th-century mounting scheme. Courbet N°5 did it far classier.

Even the cabinet itself wasn't the ubiquitous rectangular box but a parallelogram like our Audio Physic Codex. That's harder to execute. Spikes for the plinths were included but given our parquet flooring, I omitted them for these first rounds upstairs. According to Olivier, those picked up on 24 hours of prior bombardment at 30Hz.